Hospitality workers already feel effects from events canceled due to Coronavirus concerns

Published: Mar. 12, 2020 at 10:11 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - With each cancellation, some locals in the hospitality and entertainment industry say they're already struggling to make ends meet as jobs they'd counted on melt away.

Some businesses are doing what they can to help those hard hit .

"I work in the event production industry, so we've had a whole bunch of cancellations this week, next week, everything is pretty much halted," Michael Palendrano said.

It's the time of year hospitality workers rely on.

"I depend on these events to supplement my income. it's drastic because it happened last second. Everything has canceled," Palendrano said.

He says if the bigger festivals cancel, it will have a drastic impact.

“I mean if that happens, I’ll probably have to take on some more smaller gigs or see what happens from there, but yea, it is worrisome for sure,” Palendrano said.

Some business owners are doing what they can to help lift the financial pressure off employees.

“This morning, we announced a temporary paid sick leave policy to all of our employees. Both salaried and hourly workers,” Caroline Kirkendoll, with Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant said.

She said they made the decision for their hourly employees who generally don't receive paid sick leave.

"We realized that it not only was kind of the right thing to do healthwise, but certainly with regard to the financial well-being of our employees to extend this to them so that they could feel financially safe knowing that if they were sick, they didn't have to come to work, risk infecting other people," Kirkendoll said.

"I feel like the pressure's lifted off because you don't have to worry about losing a paycheck, worry about having to feed your family, still getting paid,' JayRan Monette said.

In the meantime, entertainers say they will try to ride it out with their savings.

“If it’s a long-term thing then it’ll start hitting our wall. It’s hard. This is our time to make money. We’re in season now, so a lot of us that are in this industry. This is the time that we’re really busy before summer comes,” Palendrano said.

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